Failure is Not an Option - It's a Necessity


Why do we subscribe to this idea that failure is a bad thing that must be avoided?


I recently saw a post on Instagram with the caption reading, "Failure is NOT an option". That's such a scary mindset to have because failure is inevitable. Not only does it communicate that failure is something to try and avoid, but more importantly, it conveys this idea that if you do fail then you are a failure, which is absolutely false!


What if before Thomas Edison set out on his journey, he said to himself, "Failure is not an option"; or if while Walt Disney was getting started he looked in the mirror and said, "I will not fail. If I fail, then I am a failure, and I clearly shouldn't pursue this..."


We read the above statements and chuckle because it's absurd, but yet this is the type of thinking that we allow to permeate our brains and influence our decisions. Instead of having this type of mindset, we need to instead see failure as a tool to keep moving us towards success. Remember, failure and success are intertwined - they're not going opposite directions. Ultimately, failure wants you to succeed. Failure is there to ENSURE your success, not take it away.


So how do we shift our mind to this way of thinking? Here are 3 ways to help.


1. Reframe Your Failures -“A smooth sea never made for a skillful sailor” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • This quote is so simple yet so easy to visualize and understand. We can apply the same thought process to our lives. If we want to fully maximize ourselves and have a successful business, be a great parent, have a great marriage relationship, etc... then we need to reframe our "failures" as making us better, stronger, more efficient, more effective individuals rather than setbacks that are dragging you back.

2. Be Process Oriented -“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill

  • Understanding that failures are just part of the process to reaching your ultimate goal will free you more than anything else. How? Because you understand that that failure does not have to be the end. It is just part of the road! Just as a detour leads you around constriction, so does failure help you get to your end goal.

3. Remember Your Why -"When you know your WHY, you can endure any HOW" - Viktor Frankl

  • Obviously, we will never endure what Viktor Frankl had to go through with surviving the Holocaust. Yet, we can still apply that same idea to our lives today. If we can remember our why during our failure(s) and setback(s), then we can get through whatever knocks us down. It is important to point out that that why must be something stronger than money, cars, or houses. It must be something deep and is bigger than yourself. If you're having trouble identifying your WHY, a great place to start is Simon Sinek's book, "Find Your Why".

When you can shift your mind from that old way of thinking, you are well on your way to achieving your desired end result. Remember, failure is not just an option - it is a necessity.